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Qatar Stars League History, Structure and Total Teams

Qatar Stars League History, Structure and total Clubs/Teams

Qatar Stars League

The Qatar Stars League, earlier referred to the Q-League, is the highest professional league in Qatari football. The first season of the league was played in 1963, though it was not till 1972 when the first official season was held. Al Sadd SC deserves special mention as the winner of the maximum cumulative championships. It has to its credit 14 titles, including the most recent league. The league currently features 14 clubs.

Qatar Stars League History

Qatar Stars League had its first unofficial season in 1963-64, 3 years after the QFA was formed. Likewise, a second division was also formed during this time. Many years passed away without any promotion or relegation system. The first official season, played in 1972-73, had Al Estaqlal, better known as Qatar SC, win the first Championship. 1980 saw the first playoff for the championship, between Al Sadd and Al Arabi. The former won the match 1-0. Despite the existence of a second division, a relegation or promotion system was missing. However, such a system came into being for the first time in 1981. Five clubs participated in the second division in that year itself. Interestingly, the QFA launched a new system in 1994 for one season, according to which matches ending in draws would determine its winner by means of a penalty shoot-out. The target behind this move was to improve attendance.

In the 1990 season, Al Nasr, Al Tadamon, and Al Nahda were dissolved. Many of their players were distributed to first division clubs who went on to gain prominence in Qatari football history, namely, Fahad Al Kuwari, Ahmed Al Kuwari, and Hamad Al Khalifa. Following the clubs’ dissolution, for five years, no system of relegation or promotion was in place. In 1995-96, the second division was brought back with five clubs, while ten clubs took part in the first division.

The QFA also adopted another method with the target of developing the league, and this was to allocate each Q-League club with a sum of $10,000,000 to buy high-profile foreign players. The primary aim was to increase popularity in 2003. This move did manage to taste success, and the league soon had big names such as Ronald and Frank de Boer, Pep Guardiola, and Gabriel Batistuta. Besides, 2004 saw the formation of the Aspire Academy, which offers world-class training facilities to young people. Its motive was to raise the standards of footballing, not only in Qatar but at an international level. Many notable players have graduated from the academy, including the likes of Abdelkarim Hassan, Saad Al Sheeb, and Ibrahim Majid. In 2009, there was no relegation for any team from the top division. Thanks to the recent formation of Lekhwiya and El Jaish, it meant that the second division would lose two clubs while two ore clubs would gain entry into the first division. Thus, the total number of clubs in the first division would come to 12, while that in the second division would be 6. The “Q-League” thereafter came to be known as “Qatar Stars League”, as part of the expansion campaign. A new domestic cup, known as the “Qatari Stars Cup” was also inaugurated.

Qatar Stars League Teams/Club and Format

The Qatari football structure comprises 2 divisions. Previously known as the Q-League, the Qatar Stars League currently features 14 teams, with the 2nd Division featuring 18 teams. Over the last decade or so, there has been considerable expansion in the Qatar Stars League, which have moved from 9 clubs to 10 clubs. For the Qatari League 2009-10 campaign, the latest setup was of 12 clubs. Currently, there are 4 official amateur football leagues in Qatar. Out of these, 3 fall under the jurisdiction of the Qatar Community Football League (QCFL). This was established by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy. The fourth, known as the Qatar Amateur League (QAL), was inaugurated in November 2013. Recognized by the QFA, it has 14 teams, all of which were established through the government, political and social sectors of the country. According to an announcement made on 15th April 2009, no clubs would be relegated from the top flight in the 2008-09 Qatar Stars League season, due to reasons related to expansion. However, when the announcement was made, one game was yet to be held. The top league expanded to 12 clubs in that year. Further, in May 2013, the QFA again expanded the league by two more teams, thus, the total number of clubs in the first division was brought to 14.

List of Qatar Stars League Winning Club/Team

Season Club/Team
2018–19 Al-Sadd SC
2017–18 Al-Duhail SC
2016–17 Lekhwiya SC
2015–16 Al-Rayyan SC
2014–15 Lekhwiya SC
2013–14 Lekhwiya SC
2012–13 Al-Sadd SC
2011–12 Lekhwiya SC
2010–11 Lekhwiya SC
2009–10 Al-Gharafa SC
2008–09 Al-Gharafa SC
2007–08 Al-Gharafa SC
2006–07 Al-Sadd SC
2005–06 Al-Sadd SC
2004–05 Al-Gharafa SC
2003–04 Al-Sadd SC
2002–03 Qatar SC
2001–02 Al-Ittihad
2000–01 Al-Wakrah SC
1999–2000 Al-Sadd SC
1998–99 Al-Wakrah SC
1997–98 Al-Ittihad
1996–97 Al-Arabi SC
1995–96 Al-Arabi SC
1994–95 Al-Rayyan SC
1993–94 Al-Arabi SC
1992–93 Al-Arabi SC
1991–92 Al-Ittihad
1990–91 Al-Arabi SC
1989–90 Al-Rayyan SC
1988–89 Al-Sadd SC
1987–88 Al-Sadd SC
1986–87 Al-Sadd SC
1985–86 Al-Rayyan SC
1984–85 Al-Arabi SC
1983–84 Al-Rayyan SC
1982–83 Al-Arabi SC
1981–82 Al-Rayyan SC
1980–81 Al-Sadd SC
1979–80 Al-Sadd SC
1978–79 Al-Sadd SC

Most successful clubs at Qatar Stars League

Club Champions
Al-Sadd SC 14
Qatar SC 8
Al-Rayyan SC 8
Al-Gharafa SC 7
Al-Arabi SC 7
Al-Duhail SC 6
Al-Maref 3
Al-Wakrah SC 2

Al-Sadd is the most successful team in the league

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